Paris: Qatari high jump ace Mutaz Essa Barshim, Britain's long-distance star Mo Farah and South Africa's 400m champion Wayde Van Niekerk and were shortlisted Monday for the IAAF's world athlete of the year award.
One of this trio will succeed retired Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt, the current holder of the accolade, at a ceremony in Monaco on November 24.
Mutaz, who was named the 2017 Best Athlete in Asia by the National Olympic Committee (ANOC) on Thursday, has been in tremendous form this season, with a gold at the World Championships in London topping his long list of achievements.
He has been one of the most consistent and dominant athletes of the year, piecing together an undefeated season in 11 competitions.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia's 10,000m Olympic champion Almaz Ayana is in the running to win a second successive women's world athlete of the year honour.
She is up against Greek pole vault star Ekaterini Stefanidi and Nafissatou Thiam, Belgium's heptathlon Olympic and world gold medallist.
The men's and women's finalists were whittled down from an original list of 10 by a vote of IAAF council members, fans and fellow athletes.